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A reflection: what students value in a college

April 24, 2020

Kate Kiser ’21 visited 19 different campuses throughout her college search process. But nowhere felt quite right—until she arrived at Bowdoin for an overnight visit.

“Once I stepped foot on Bowdoin’s campus, it was game over,” she said. “Everything that people say about the Bowdoin hello and just feeling inclusive—that’s true.”

The campus atmosphere also stood out to Emily Jacobs ’23, who, coming from Los Angeles, appreciated the friendliness she encountered  upon visiting Bowdoin.

“When I was walking around on campus, people would say hi even if they had no idea who I was or who I was walking with, and you really just don’t get that in the city. I really appreciated that environment,” Jacobs said.

Prospective students: Looking for more reasons to pick Bowdoin?       See what other students had to say. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some students admitted to the Class of 2024 will not be able to experience campus in person before making their enrollment decisions. In place of attending an admitted students’ weekend or going on a campus tour, admitted students can learn about Bowdoin through a series of live-streamed Q&A sessions with students, alumni, faculty and staff. The admissions office has also compiled a variety of digital resources on a web page geared specifically toward admitted students.

“Bowdoin students, faculty and staff have been absolutely amazing in their ability to convey the essence of Bowdoin—through all the virtual methods,” Whitney Soule, Dean of Admissions and Student Aid said in an email to the Orient. “Each livestream that we have done has represented a warm, intentional, intellectual community that is spirited and curious.”

This community is one of the reasons many students, such as Prithvi Gunturu ’22, cite in explaining why they selected Bowdoin.

“From the second we arrive on campus for our pre-orientation trips, what we do individually is far surpassed by what we do together. And while Bowdoin emphasizes the importance of collaboration, it does not undermine the importance of our individual strengths and talents,” Gunturu said. “Bowdoin really encourages us to use our individual strengths as part of a team to benefit our community.”

Jeremiah Brown ’23 also felt drawn to the College by the personalities of its students.

“I really do think that the people that are admitted and especially people who choose to come here are some of the most curious, inquisitive, warm, loving, kindest, people that I’ve ever met. Bowdoin really does invest in who their students are individually and in how those individual pieces come together to form something larger in a class of whatever graduation year you are,” Brown said.

“You’re not just there to be an academic student, you’re really there to develop yourself as a person, as a whole,” he added.

For others, diversity within the student body and inclusion on campus have proven to be key factors in their Bowdoin experience.

“I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person. College has been some of the best and most stressful moments of my life, and I think going into it I was just looking forward to academics and volleyball and campus, but now I really value inclusiveness,” Kiser said. “At Bowdoin there are people that I haven’t really encountered in my area before, people from China, people who are from Ghana. It’s crazy how many different people there are, and I think now that I value people from different walks of life that I didn’t get to experience before and how college incorporates that.”

While many students’ reflections on their favorite parts of Bowdoin heavily feature the social aspects of their college experience, many also cite a satisfaction with the academic community the College offers.

“As I’ve progressed during my first year at Bowdoin, I’ve started to understand that college is really about the relationships that you build and finding what you are really interested in. There are so many more academic opportunities at Bowdoin besides getting a good grade in classes, which is something that I never experienced in high school,” said Evan Bay ’23. “I chose Bowdoin because it fosters a collaborative and welcoming environment that makes Bowdoin feel like a second home.”


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